A fundamental challenge for our industry is discovery: how do candidates and employers discover each other? You can argue that job boards – and newspapers before them – tried to solve this problem: they tried to make it easier for candidates to find open positions. But – as with many things in life – one step forward, two steps back. The proliferation of job boards, and then aggregators, and then social media, and so on, has made it ever more confusing for candidates and employers to discover each other. Where do they start?
For candidates, it’s usually a search engine like Google (as my research has shown repeatedly). But just as often it is proximity and awareness: the candidate sees the employer’s office or facility and decides to check them out, or the candidate hears about the employer – from friends, local media, a blog, Facebook, or current employees.
Isn’t this pretty random? I think it is. For many candidates, they end up working at a particular organization not because they carefully vetted and selected that company as an ‘ideal fit’ for their skills, but because they found them on Google or they saw/heard about them. Note that the employer – despite perhaps their best efforts – aren’t necessarily finding the right local or regional candidate for their job with regard to terms and skills; but instead, the candidate who is a pretty good fit and just happened to stumble over their offering.
It’s like two sides that really need to meet, really need to interact, but they’re moving around in a fog of ignorance and confusion.
Welcome to the real labor market.
Why am I writing about this? This is, after all, a blog for job boards and recruitment marketers. Because: a) sometimes in the midst of new search engine APIs, programmatic this and social that, ‘engagement’ and ‘pipelines’, we lose sight of the fact that both side of our audience – candidates and employers – aren’t particularly educated or sophisticated; this is not meant as an insult for those who are (of whom there are quite a few) – just a reality check; and b) our top line goal should always be – in my humble opinion – to facilitate the discovery process for both sides. If discovery is done well, chances improve dramatically for a successful conclusion – the ‘ideal hire’ – which in turn leads to a long term success: retention. Sure, there are many companies (like Uber) who couldn’t give a flip about retention, and who view their employees as disposable. But there are many other organizations who see their employees as a competitive advantage. If they can do a better job of discovering – and being discovered – they can hire better people.
So if you’re thinking about new services for your clients, think about tools and process that dissipate the fog and aid discovery. There are no silver bullets (although many players out there promise them), but guess what? The world is just fine with incremental improvement. In fact, you can and should think of these improvements as your competitive advantage.[Want to get Job Board Doctor posts via email? Subscribe here.]